The best things, in no particular order, about this year's parade of Upfront events:
Different, more immersive approaches to getting messages across, with AMC's sit-down dinner presentation a major example.
Press-directed events where talent both in front of and behind the camera had as much face time as network executives -- GSN, El Rey and Pivot being some of the most effective.
Plenty of outstanding music performances from Nickelodeon and MTV to Adult Swim and Univision.
The worst things, in no particular order, about this year's parade of Upfront events:
The absence of Cartoon Network, TVOne, The Hub, Spike, WGN America, WE, etc., all with original, especially scripted, series meriting attention. At the very least, they should have offered press briefings.
Getting in/out of the Javits Center's North Hall for both NBC and NBC Universal Cable's events in the same week.
Some Viacom networks going AWOL while others hosted events.
The absence of the majority of multicast channels, such as Bounce TV, Live Well Network (now set to shut down the end of this year), This TV and so forth.
The best things, in no particular order, about this year's parade of NewFront events:
Great variety of content available or in development, with first-timers like Buzzfeed, Maker Studios (about to be folded into Disney) and PBS Digital making impressive marks.
AOL correcting a big problem with last year's NewFront by having celebs speak for 90 seconds apiece at most.
Crackle bringing Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston aboard for an out-there satire of the 1950s crime dramaTightrope! with John O'Hurley featured in the pilot. (I can't wait to see this series; hopefully, O'Hurley remains the lead.)
The kind of content PBS Digital puts together. How about taking some of this to primetime on PBS stations?
The worst things, in no particular order, about this year's parade of NewFront events:
Vevo and other participants booking facilities too small to accomodate the majority of people interested in their content, including press.
Most of the participants continuing not to divulge when their programs will premiere, or in some cases, that they're already online (and in some cases, running via smart TV sets).
Breakdown after breakdown with AOL's transportation plans getting people to Brooklyn, then in and out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, for their event.
With all the programming Netflix is cooking up the rest of this year and next, isn't it time for them to follow the upfront lead and do a press event here in NYC with Reed Hastings, their key programming execs and series creators? Just asking.
Interactive Advertising Bureau did a great job arranging this year's expanded lineup of NewFronts. Now it’s time for IAB to do the same thing arranging press credentials. Have IAB be the place reporters get those credentials, rather than call or e-mail each and every presenter. As it stands, the process is too much of a wormhole, with some companies not responding at all, and others responding with no credentials, then reversing calls at the last minute.
Kudos to The Walter Kaitz Foundation for holding its first Hollywood Creative Forum East here in New York last week, with a first-ever focus on scripted TV. The more events like this take place in New York, Los Angeles and all over the nation, the bigger the opportunities for people of color to encourage the next generation of TV to open up.
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